Warden McGuire had taken a lot of strange requests in his time in charge of Corcoran Prison. He had received interview requests from Journalist, Psychologists and even the FBI to interview Maddox, as the most notorious resident of the institution all of these made sense. This request to allow the three visitors that he now accompanied through the halls was the most unusual. He had received a call that morning from the office of the Governor to bring in these three visitors and arrange a meeting with the senior most guard in charge of supervising Maddox. When they had arrived he was even more startled. He was not bothered by the old man, who looked like every auditor or psychologist he had ever met, it was the old cowboy and the soccer mom dressed like a hooker that bothered him.
His first instinct had been to inform them that they could not be allowed into the prison dressed as they were, but then he remembered the voice on the phone and its warning to not upset these visitors. Once he thought about it and realized they could be kept away from any of the prisoners.
He brought them into his office as he had been directed. Once he they were settled he sent for George.
It took about fifteen minutes George to arrive.
He tapped on the door as he entered.
“You asked to see me sir?” George said before he realized who else was in the room with the warden.
“I will step out while you folks talk.” Warden McGuire
McGuire closed the door on the way out as George sat down waiting for someone to break the silence.
“Is something wrong?” George finally asked. “I have performed my duty Maddox has not been able to feed since I came here, he is weakened and remains controlled.”
Rip and Tom looked at their old friend and could not believe the change that had come over him in the time that he had been here. They knew that the loss of his love had taken an incalculable toll on him but they were not prepared for the physical changes that he had undergone. His round face had become sunken and angular, they eyes that had shined back with mirth and adventure were hollow and sunken, his broad frame had become emaciated and his uniform hung off his shouldered as if it were empty.
“We came to collect you,” Tom finally said. “We fear that Bathory is trying to make an advance against us.”
“I have my mission.” George said standing to leave.
“Wait,” Rip exclaimed “We know how you feel about what you are doing here. But it doesn’t look like he is going to be a problem, even if he’s part of their plans the big picture is more important now”
George stopped in his tracks; frozen by a mindless cold rage. “Not a problem?” George asked. “Just like the Highfather said when I warned him of this vermin forty years ago. I told him that the interloper needed to be dealt with. But he said NO, he didn’t think that one little neck biter was going to cause us any problems.”
George began to pace as he ranted, and even though they all knew his story they allowed him to continue.
“No Problems at all,” George screamed. “Until he slaughtered the love of my life.”
Tom stood and placed a soothing hand on his old friend.
“We know you are tired, and taking on the burden of being here was something that you asked the Highfather if you could do.” Tom consoled. “But a far greater storm is approaching and we need to marshal all of our forces together in order to stand against it.”
George stood and quietly began to sob.
“They wrote on the walls in her blood.” He whispered.
“I know,” Tom responded. “And he is paying every day in here as he slowly starves to death. However the Highfather is once again not seeing the danger that is looming right before us and Prince Robin has asked us to find you so that we may prevent another tragedy from occurring.”
George and Tom stood frozen in the moment together, Tom’s hand resting on George’s shoulder. Tom knew what it was like to have your sanity hanging by a thread and prayed to the Powers that he had not pushed his old friend too hard, too fast.
“We need you to come with us George.” Rip finally said.
George stopped cry and whipped his eyes with the sleeve of his uniform. Without saying a word he walked over to the Warden’s desk and removed his belt with the Taser and Billy-club still hanging on it and deposited it on the desk. As he turned to face the others they noticed the hollow look in his eyes had reached a new terrifying depth.
“I must do as my Prince commands.” George said without emotion as they lead him away.